The Trons: The Trons (Pieplate CD/DVD)

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The Trons: Attack of the Mute Ants
The Trons: The Trons (Pieplate CD/DVD)

A few decades ago Devo advanced the idea of "devolution", that Mankind wasn't going forward but actually regressing and you could see that in the behaviour of the mob. Regrettably it seems they might have been right if idiot postings on Facebook and You Tube are anything to go by, not to mention the guy who will hold up store at gunpoint for a packet of cigarettes and small change.

Now we turn our attention to Kraftwerk who took the human component out of music making and turned it over to computers.

Mix Devo and Kraftwerk and you get the highly devolved rock group the Trons who are pure machines built and programmed by Greg Locke. See, no humans required. Just machines making . . . well, something much more interesting than metal machine music actually.

The Trons seem programmed to make taut post-Velvet Underground minimalist rock, or something akin to surf-rock as re-imagined by the Feelies. There are also sampled/processed/diced up vocal parts.

Described as a "self playing robot garage band" they are the invention of the inordinately talented and inventive Locke who has taken them on the road (so he's their roadie-cum-tour manager as well, and I guess he gets the rider) but also stretched them into other directions.

One track here, Twister, is the band collaborating with a Len Lye sculpture.

What lifts this beyond an eccentric if amusing diversion is Locke's keen artistic sensibilities in terms of visual presentation (because let's face it, there's even less to look at than at a Kraftwerk concert). This CD comes with an eight song DVD collection of exciting videos which refer to Expressionism, early Flying Nun DIY clips, slightly menacing moods in the manner of Residents' clips . . .

This is an impressive art-cum-rock project: an installation which actually does something nad makes you laugh, dance and think. It's also quite unnerving for some as one of the clips shows, people don't quite know how to respond. 

Terrific package. For more on the Trons see here.

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